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How to become an unstoppable launch machine: lessons learnt at Five by Five

When it comes to launches, Business Development Director of Five by Five Gareth Evans rightly points out that they are “one of the most stressful, exciting, fun and satisfying things you can do in marketing because there’s a lot on the line; money, reputation, credibility.” Five by Five’s latest event “How to become an unstoppable launch machine” boiled every challenge and stress of how to plan a launch into a hit-list of ten principles based on their experience conducting campaigns for top brands like Adidas, Fat Face and Gap. Here’s their list. 

  1. Have a reason to exist
  2. Have a golden thread
  3. Tell a story
  4. Coordinate
  5. Be a democrat and a dictator
  6. Get your people on side
  7. Customise for each audience
  8. Deploy your Red Team
  9. Learn in real time
  10. Have fun

You’d think “having a reason to exist” would be pretty obvious. But every marketer planning a launch needs to sit down with a blank piece of paper (the best kind) and literally fill in the blank: “we exist because ____.” Then make sure that all and any collateral or messaging for the launch comes back to that. You also need to make sure the whole team is telling the same story, so that what emerges is a single, concise raison d’être that becomes your golden thread – and your story.

The next few principles speak to Gareth’s point that marketers had better be ninjas. While other departments may dip in and out of the project, the marketing “ninja” must be the glue that holds the launch together, aware of every detail without ever losing sight of the bigger picture. To balance being a democrat and dictator, marketers must involve others enough to have their buy-in to the launch process, but be authoritative enough to call the shots.

“Learn in real time” is also an important one to highlight. As marketing trend forecasting for this year and next has already shown, the need to learn in real time and deliver responsive data analysis is more pressing than ever. In recognition of the data economy in which we all now live and work, there is an increasing need for agility in business decision-making, even for thoroughly planned and researched activities like launches.

But as a B2B marketer myself, I was keen to explore how these guiding principles could work for the B2B environment. Gareth argued that they not only rang true across the B2C/B2B divide but could be scaled according to the size of the launch – whilst a social media campaign would have a considerably smaller budget, it would still need to demonstrate its golden thread and reason to exist. It all depends on principle number seven, customising for each audience – at the end of the day, are all marketers not trying to engage people asking “what’s in it for me?”

Getting people on your side was an interesting one for me in light of our recent event “The internal sell of content marketing” - a number of marketers at our event also found that many without key stakeholder backing were facing an up-hill battle. With increasingly tight budgets and pressure to deliver quantifiable results from every campaign, the need to get your senior management in a room and pitch your case is essential to project success. And it has to be done right at the beginning of the project:  "Your content campaign must be owned and endorsed at senior level; you have to act quickly!" (Aimee Peters, Head of Marketing at HSBC).

For content marketing specifically, a few of the principles are particularly useful. If you customise your content for each audience, you won’t be at risk of pushing out content that you want to produce but no-one will read; what Dianna Huff calls the “so what?” factor. Instead, you’ll be looking to answer the questions and problems that your industry is facing.

 And telling a story? In the internet age of saturated content it’s no longer enough just to “tell a story.” You have to tell it well. With impactful visuals and key insight backed by great data; with flair, originality and innovation; and with the right golden thread for the right audience. Storytelling is as old as the hills, so what can you bring that’s new to the table? Find that, and you’ll be a big step closer to becoming an unstoppable launch machine.